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Music Production and Promotion Tips

Recording Acoustic Guitar

Posted on | June 12, 2012 | No Comments

In the wonderful modern age we live in, we’re lucky enough to not need recording studios to be able to make a professional sounding song. Fortunately for all the guitarists out there, your instrument is one that can relatively simply be recorded at home. That said, there are loads of contributing factors to getting a quality recording of your guitar sitting in the comfort of your bedroom, so here are our tips when it comes to recording acoustic guitar.

So the first step to recording acoustic guitar well is getting the sound right at the source! Instrument and musician need to be as good as they possibly can be. It doesn’t matter if you have the best recording equipment on the market, an out of tune guitar will still sound bad. Make sure the musician (even if it is yourself) is comfortable and has practiced a lot, and that the guitar is in good nick.

Microphone choice plays a big part, of course, and you really need to get your hands on the best microphone you can possibly afford (or borrow, or even rent!). One big question to ask is what type of mic you are going to buy. Your choices are a dynamic microphone, which doesn’t need power and is often designed for durability and quality over long periods of time, Condenser, more fragile, and generally speaking a better recording quality, but more expensive, too! Or you can even use a USB microphone such as a Snowball mic. Don’t rule this out, USB mics have come a long way and have even made it onto commercially released albums, but make sure you get one designed to record vocals and instruments to a high standard.

My recommended Condenser Mic (Under £100)
My recommended Dynamic Mic (Under £100)
My recommended USB Mic (Under £100)

And don’t forget that if you use a condenser mic, and ideally for dynamic mics too, you’ll need one of these bad boys.

Microphone placement is another big factor, and in an ideal world you will use two microphones, and angle them at “XY” angles to each other. So both at 45 degrees from the guitar facing in different directions, and if you have the one mic, place it at around the twelfth fret, at a 45 degree angle, facing the guitar body. This is, as a rule of thumb, a great starting point for recording guitars, but it is different every time, and the only way you’ll find what works for you is to experiment. Move the microphone, add and remove multiple mics, and play around with the norms! Where would we be without experimentation?

In terms of recording software, you should use whatever you are comfortable with. A free piece of software such as Audacity may well serve your purpose. I, personally, use Logic Pro for all of my recording, composing and mixing needs.

The acoustics of your room are the final area I will cover. Be sensible, I won’t give you a huge lesson on acoustics but you should test out a room and try and get rid of the reverb and echo it may produce. Try recording in the smallest room of your house (not the bathroom) and putting some big duvets up on the walls to soak up the sound. Don’t record in a huge kitchen unless you want to sound like you’re in an aircraft hangar.

 

Let us know what works for you when it comes to recording guitar, reach out and leave a comment below. Happy recording!

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